Barriers to Help-Seeking in Men for Mental Health Issues: The Impact of Gender Role Socialization and Masculinity Ideologies
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According to the World Health Organization (2017), depression is a significant contributor to suicides globally and that men lead in the number of suicides. However, there is a discrepancy between the extent of men diagnosed with depression and their rates of suicide. Diagnosis of depression is higher in females than males; however, men die by suicide by twice the rate as women. Men are also less likely to seek professional or social help for mental health issues, and the literature has shown that adherence to traditional masculine ideologies and social norms are a barrier to help-seeking in men for mental health issues. This research project examines the current literature on the impact that socialized masculine norms and masculinity have as a barrier to help-seeking in men. The findings indicate that adherence to masculine social norms does impose barriers to help-seeking in men for mental health issues. The main barriers are masculine gender ideologies, gender role conflict, stigma, mental health literacy, maladaptive coping strategies, and men’s lack of confidence in the health system. Conclusions made from the literature are that these barriers are diverse and multi-faceted within each individual. It is too simplistic to assume that they produce all resistant help-seeking behaviours and mental health issues equally for all men. More research on the impact of gender socialization and help-seeking using men from different races, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, social status, and levels of education will provide a greater understanding of how to navigate the barriers.